"Wait, you didn't live near the school?" he asked.
"Definitely didn't," I answered.
"So where did you grow up?"
"On a little side street right by 60th and Market."
I wasn't. And, he wasn't the first person to think that surely I grew up in the mostly Jewish neighborhood that surrounded the public school he and I attended in the city's
For those unfamiliar with the area, it's far from aesthetically pleasing and while it's fair to say that no neighborhood is completely free of crime, this neighborhood seems to have its share and a couple other neighborhoods' shares, too. Yet, growing up, I didn't notice all of this. This was my neighborhood and this was home.
At the end of the street I grew up on were burgundy pillars that if you followed them up with your eyes, as I so often did, you would see the tracks of the El. We only had to walk two blocks to catch the El. This was convenient for not-so athletic child such as me. The El was what I took with my mom to
Across from the Asian donut shop was -- and still -- is the famous Tony Boys Breakfast Shop. While I would get my donuts, my older brother would get his hot sausage sandwiches from Tony Boys. We would both meet at the Route 31 bus stop, which ran under the El along
After school we'd take the same bus and get off and go to the SunRay across from Tony Boys. We'd get cherry cola now or a bag of Hotfries. Then we'd walk another block and go to our great- grandmother's home. Her house is where I colored some of my best drawings, wrote my best five-paragraph essays, ate amazing syrup-and-bread sandwiches, learned to loathe and then like basketball, built up my tolerance for boys (my two older cousins and their five guy friends were there every day), and had some of my most memorable crushes (some of those 5 guys were handsome). Her house held many family dinners, graduation parties, and it was where my siblings and I would go when my mother headed to the hospital to have another one of us.
Today, 60th and Market Streets continues to make the news for a rash of negative things. Whether it is gangs, drugs, or homicide, it is not good. I can't say I remember the last time the news broadcasted the
I will remember home.